Market Force "overlapping shop times" warning

I received an email with a warning about overlapping shop times on two of my shops. Apparently their system is set up to automatically alert them when shop times overlap. The email goes on to give tips on how to avoid this issue (by being more careful in entering shop times etc.). It says that this time they are giving me a warning, but if it happens again they will have to deactivate my account because it is considered a "quality infraction".

All of this makes sense...except that I actually did two separate shops in the same location at the same time. The times I entered for both shops are identical and correct. This was a grocery store. The client on one shop was the grocery store, and the client on the other shop was a competitor. Both required some of the same observations, but some interactions were in different departments. I completed and properly reported all details for each shop, and I used the same receipt for both.

My question is if I should explain this to MF and see if they could remove the "warning" since I did not screw up the shop times? I don't intend to have this issue again...but I'd hate to have ANY negative mark on my account. On the other hand, I'm concerned that they may instead invalidate both shops and refuse to pay me. I did not see anything anywhere saying that I cannot combine two shops at the same location. Does anybody know if there is such a rule written anywhere?

I'd appreciate your input. Thanks.

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Typically, you should not overlap shops as a general rule unless you have permission from the company/client/scheduler. In this case, if you're getting a receipt reimbursement, it's a bit unfair to use the same receipt and there is probably a rule against that bit for sure. Getting reimbursed twice for one receipt is double dipping. Search on here for other threads about double dipping and you'll get more info and advice.

MegglesKat
Are you new to MF?

You can not shop the same location at the same time, whether it's the same client or competitor. And you Def can't use the same receipt for two different shops.
I appreciate the reply. As far as "double dipping"...I made sure I spent enough in the store to cover the combined reimbursement amount for both shops. If I had gone in twice and gotten separate receipts they would have each paid the same reimbursement amounts.
@eyelove2shop wrote:

Are you new to MF?

You can not shop the same location at the same time, whether it's the same client or competitor. And you Def can't use the same receipt for two different shops.

Is that written somewhere? I've been looking on the MF website, and I don't seem to be able to find it. The only thing they always tell me is not to do two fast food shops in the same meal period (and I never do FF shops anyway).
@Kenzie wrote:

All of this makes sense...except that I actually did two separate shops in the same location at the same time. The times I entered for both shops are identical and correct. This was a grocery store. The client on one shop was the grocery store, and the client on the other shop was a competitor. Both required some of the same observations, but some interactions were in different departments. I completed and properly reported all details for each shop, and I used the same receipt for both.
My question is if I should explain this to MF and see if they could remove the "warning" since I did not screw up the shop times? I don't intend to have this issue again...but I'd hate to have ANY negative mark on my account. On the other hand, I'm concerned that they may instead invalidate both shops and refuse to pay me. I did not see anything anywhere saying that I cannot combine two shops at the same location. Does anybody know if there is such a rule written anywhere?

I would not explain to them that you deliberately did two shops, one for a competitor and one for the store, at the same time. They are likely to deactivate you. In the future, if you get two MF shops for the same location, one for a competitor and one for the store, I would perform the two shops separately.

And, it's too late to not have a negative on your record. It's already there. If you argue, it increases the negative.
Two separate shops are just that. They need different start times, different receipts, different interactions, different pictures, etc. No company will you twice for one shop. Consider yourself lucky that you just got a warning and move on.
@roflwofl wrote:

I would not explain to them that you deliberately did two shops, one for a competitor and one for the store, at the same time. They are likely to deactivate you. In the future, if you get two MF shops for the same location, one for a competitor and one for the store, I would perform the two shops separately.

And, it's too late to not have a negative on your record. It's already there. If you argue, it increases the negative

Thanks for the advice!

Yeah, I was worried about making things worse if I contact them. Still not sure if it IS a violation to combine shops since I checked the paper work before doing the shops and after receiving this email, and I couldn't find it addressed anywhere. Also, I was kind of expecting an email saying I used the same receipt twice. Maybe that's yet to come? Who knows...

FWIW, this was a total fluke that the two shops ended up on the same date; it definitely wasn't planned. I'll definitely try to avoid that situation in the future. Going in twice in a row and doing essentially the same thing would raise all sorts of suspicions on part of the associates.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/08/2017 09:46PM by Kenzie.
@ChrisCooper wrote:

Two separate shops are just that. They need different start times, different receipts, different interactions, different pictures, etc. No company will you twice for one shop. Consider yourself lucky that you just got a warning and move on.

I see your point, but I figured each client gets a complete accurate report with all the required information and proof of visit. MF certainly gets paid their full fee from each client, so I don't see why they wouldn't also pay the shopper.
@Kenzie wrote:

@ChrisCooper wrote:

Two separate shops are just that. They need different start times, different receipts, different interactions, different pictures, etc. No company will you twice for one shop. Consider yourself lucky that you just got a warning and move on.

I see your point, but I figured each client gets a complete accurate report with all the required information and proof of visit. MF certainly gets paid their full fee from each client, so I don't see why they wouldn't also pay the shopper.

And you have not been told you are not getting paid for either or both shops, you just got a warning? Usually, when you get the overlapping times warning, both shops are not allowed. In both shops, is each client reimbursing your purchase? If so, providing the same receipt to both clients and collecting reimbursement twice on the same purchase sounds pretty fraudulent. In addition, it would make one of the reimbursements actually taxable income.

If you are getting getting paid for both shops AND reimbursed twice for the same receipt, consider yourself very, VERY lucky. People have been deactivated by MF for fraud for much less.
@roflwofl wrote:

@Kenzie wrote:

@ChrisCooper wrote:

Two separate shops are just that. They need different start times, different receipts, different interactions, different pictures, etc. No company will you twice for one shop. Consider yourself lucky that you just got a warning and move on.

I see your point, but I figured each client gets a complete accurate report with all the required information and proof of visit. MF certainly gets paid their full fee from each client, so I don't see why they wouldn't also pay the shopper.

And you have not been told you are not getting paid for either or both shops, you just got a warning? Usually, when you get the overlapping times warning, both shops are not allowed. In both shops, is each client reimbursing your purchase? If so, providing the same receipt to both clients and collecting reimbursement twice on the same purchase sounds pretty fraudulent. In addition, it would make one of the reimbursements actually taxable income.

If you are getting getting paid for both shops AND reimbursed twice for the same receipt, consider yourself very, VERY lucky. People have been deactivated by MF for fraud for much less.

I already explained that the purchase amount was enough to cover both reimbursements. The reimbursement for one shop is $10 and the other $15. I spent about $45. It might be against guidelines (which is what I'm trying to find out), but there is nothing fraudulent about what I did. Neither the MSC, nor the clients nor the IRS are getting screwed in any way, shape or form. Both clients received all the data they paid for, and the MSC received payment from both clients.
How do you know if MF received payment from both companies?

It will probably be difficult to get to the right person at mf to do something about your record. As others have mentioned here, it probably will do more harm than good.
I would have done one shop, made the required purchase, taken it out to my car, and gone back in and done the second shop. I guess I never thought about doing both at the same time. I have a different MSC that I sometimes do two shops for at the same locations. One is shopping the convenience stores and the other is shopping the food outlets within the convenience stores. I always do one first, go out to my car and put away my receipt and make a couple of quick notes on my phone, then go back in for the second shop a few minutes later.
You can stop looking in the guidelines. MSCs do not put a section in there about how to rip off their clients.There is nothing in there about shoplifting, loitering, spitting, and smoking, but you should avoid doing those on an assignment, too.

Sorry this thread went south on you, but you don't realize how lucky you were to get just a warning. Can you imagine what would have happened if you went back to the MSC to clarify? Look at your fellow shoppers reactions. Really, let it go.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I would have done one shop, made the required purchase, taken it out to my car, and gone back in and done the second shop. I guess I never thought about doing both at the same time. I have a different MSC that I sometimes do two shops for at the same locations. One is shopping the convenience stores and the other is shopping the food outlets within the convenience stores. I always do one first, go out to my car and put away my receipt and make a couple of quick notes on my phone, then go back in for the second shop a few minutes later.

Yeah, I thought about doing it that way, but it really didn't seem to make any sense and would raise too much suspicion. For example, one department I had to go to for both shops was the deli. The store client wanted to know about the department and interaction, and the competitor was mostly interested in the wait time. Who makes a deli purchase and then 15 minutes later makes another one? Or uses the restroom twice in a row? Or walks up and down the entire store twice? Or asks a question at the bakery and then comes back and asks another question? Sure, maybe I should have done it that way to be on the safe side, but it seemed like an absurd thing to do. Lesson learned, I guess.
@ChrisCooper wrote:

You can stop looking in the guidelines. MSCs do not put a section in there about how to rip off their clients.There is nothing in there about shoplifting, loitering, spitting, and smoking, but you should avoid doing those on an assignment, too.

Sorry this thread went south on you, but you don't realize how lucky you were to get just a warning. Can you imagine what would have happened if you went back to the MSC to clarify? Look at your fellow shoppers reactions. Really, let it go.

If MF believes that their clients are being "ripped off" by this, then by all means they should reject the shops, not push them through and bill the clients. Correct?

While I completely understand that I probably should have done two separate trips...I completely disagree that there was any kind of ripping off, double dipping or fraud involved. There simply is no basis for that, no matter how outrageous you might personally find it.
Sometimes those stores are so darned busy and the employees (mostly) are so unobservant or busy with other tasks they don't even recognize you as the same person. I do demos at a health food store, and I was at the store about 15 feet away from the cash register for 3 hours one day and had given some samples to some of the cashiers, even having a semi-lengthy conversation with one of them. At the end of my shift I did some shopping and went through his register and he didn't even know it was me...after he rang me up and I paid, I said, "So what do you think of xxx product?" And he said, "Oh, you're the demo lady. Sorry, you look different without your apron on." LOL!!!! And I have before forgotten something as a real customer and had to go back into the store. Haven't you ever gone shopping and left the store, then realized you forgot something? And who do you think is watching you go into the restroom? Probably nobody. And maybe you have an overactive bladder, who is going to ask? So if they look at you curiously during you revisit to the deli and/or say something, you say, "Oh, my husband/wife texted me and asked me to get some xxx meat. Can I get 1/4 lb. of xxx?" If you are ever worried about being recognized at the same location, drive somewhere to get gas or run an errand nearby (plan for it) and then go back about 30 minutes later. You might even get a different cashier.

I don't think you were trying to rip off the MSC, you made it clear you purchased enough to cover the amounts, but now you know. Do two shops at separate times and two separate receipts are the way to go.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Sometimes those stores are so darned busy and the employees (mostly) are so unobservant or busy with other tasks they don't even recognize you as the same person. I do demos at a health food store, and I was at the store about 15 feet away from the cash register for 3 hours one day and had given some samples to some of the cashiers, even having a semi-lengthy conversation with one of them. At the end of my shift I did some shopping and went through his register and he didn't even know it was me...after he rang me up and I paid, I said, "So what do you think of xxx product?" And he said, "Oh, you're the demo lady. Sorry, you look different without your apron on." LOL!!!! And I have before forgotten something as a real customer and had to go back into the store. Haven't you ever gone shopping and left the store, then realized you forgot something? And who do you think is watching you go into the restroom? Probably nobody. And maybe you have an overactive bladder, who is going to ask? So if they look at you curiously during you revisit to the deli and/or say something, you say, "Oh, my husband/wife texted me and asked me to get some xxx meat. Can I get 1/4 lb. of xxx?" If you are ever worried about being recognized at the same location, drive somewhere to get gas or run an errand nearby (plan for it) and then go back about 30 minutes later. You might even get a different cashier.

I don't think you were trying to rip off the MSC, you made it clear you purchased enough to cover the amounts, but now you know. Do two shops at separate times and two separate receipts are the way to go.

Thanks. Like I said, lesson learned.
I suppose it's akin to a regular 9-5 job where you couldn't punch in at 9 AM to begin working at your desk, and work for XYZ company on your computer at the same time for taxes and all sorts of other reasons. Basically, can't be clocked in two places at once and getting paid.

I dunno. I have done shops in one part of a store and shops in another before for different companies but always with different tickets and different times. In particular, MF is a force itself... I reschedule things frequently when Make Offers land on same day. Ya never know with them. If it's something on the way, I'll grab it and then on the way home grab the other one if I don't have time to go back to the car and start over or go check out and make another round. I did a phone shop one day where I went to the phone section of the store, interacted with an associate, grabbed a brochure and then wrote down my times. I also made my way over to the tablet area and did the same thing.

Just be sure to "separate" in the future, even for easy pickins and even if the directions are obscure or do not touch the subject. Always be about your bottom line $$$$

MegglesKat
Yes, MF has a habit of deactivating people sometimes without warning, leaving shoppers scratching their heads in bewilderment. Gotta watch your Ps and Qs with them.
@MountainCacher88 wrote:

I suppose it's akin to a regular 9-5 job where you couldn't punch in at 9 AM to begin working at your desk, and work for XYZ company on your computer at the same time for taxes and all sorts of other reasons. Basically, can't be clocked in two places at once and getting paid.

That's exactly the difference though. At a regular 9-5 job I get paid for my TIME (often regardless of productivity or completing specific tasks). The MSC and clients do not pay me for my time; they pay me for an accurate REPORT based on accurate observations. That's exactly what I gave each client...the information they requested. I don't have to inspect the restroom twice to be able to tell each client that one lock was broken or the trash can was overflowing.
That may very well be true, but as independent contractors, we are at the mercy of their whims and they can decide to not use our reports if they want to and not pay us if they don't use our reports. And they can deactivate us for any reason at any time and there is no recourse. Just keep in mind that you got lucky with Marketforce only giving you a warning.
The IRS may or may not agree with you. But all in all, time and time again, you'll see this asked on the forum and it always turns out the same that most MSC will not allow it or will heavily restrict it.

MegglesKat
@JASFLALMT wrote:

That may very well be true, but as independent contractors, we are at the mercy of their whims and they can decide to not use our reports if they want to and not pay us if they don't use our reports. And they can deactivate us for any reason at any time and there is no recourse. Just keep in mind that you got lucky with Marketforce only giving you a warning.

You are absolutely correct, and I do not intend to run into this issue again. I'm certainly not looking to push my luck with any MSC. If they do decide to deactivate me because of this I won't be too shocked.

I only got defensive because some posters were accusing me of all sorts of fraud...and that's just not accurate.

Anyway, thanks everybody for your feedback.

Happy shopping!
In this case perhaps it would be better to think in these terms, you technically only had one client for the shops, MarketForce. The end purchaser of the mystery shopper is their client. Had those two different shops been for two different MSCs and two different entities were receiving the report, I see nothing wrong with submitting the same receipt for reimbursement regardless of how much or little was spent. In my case I always perform "double dips" as separate shops, completing one before starting the other. That is for my own benefit because having a line between them helps me keep the details straight.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@LisaSTL wrote:

Had those two different shops been for two different MSCs and two different entities were receiving the report, I see nothing wrong with submitting the same receipt for reimbursement regardless of how much or little was spent.
Several months back, I had a situation where I was able to shop the same store at the same time for TWO separate MSCs. What I did was go through and make all my observations at each section, gather all the items I was purchasing, and divided them up into two separate orders, so that I had two separate & different receipts, one for each MSC, so that they had different items, different checkout times, and different (but close ) total costs. One MSC may have required a particular item, and the other MSC a particular item, so when I separated the items up into two separate orders, I made sure the right items were with the right order. I was able to submit my report to each of the two separate MSCs, and never had any blow back.

I was a little leery of using the same receipt for the same MSC....one never knows how many Companies a particular Editor may work for, or if MSCs share info with one another.
@Kenzie wrote:

@ChrisCooper wrote:

Two separate shops are just that. They need different start times, different receipts, different interactions, different pictures, etc. No company will you twice for one shop. Consider yourself lucky that you just got a warning and move on.

I see your point, but I figured each client gets a complete accurate report with all the required information and proof of visit. MF certainly gets paid their full fee from each client, so I don't see why they wouldn't also pay the shopper.
i agree w/chriscooper 100%. question for op. how long have u been msing. it says uve been forum member for 2 yrs. very surprised that after 2 yrs u dont know about dbl dipping & using same receipt for 2 diff shops.
@Kenzie wrote:

I already explained that the purchase amount was enough to cover both reimbursements. The reimbursement for one shop is $10 and the other $15. I spent about $45. It might be against guidelines (which is what I'm trying to find out), but there is nothing fraudulent about what I did. Neither the MSC, nor the clients nor the IRS are getting screwed in any way, shape or form. Both clients received all the data they paid for, and the MSC received payment from both clients.

edit -
double-dipping [duhb-uh l-dip-ing]
noun
1. the act or practice of receiving more than one income or collecting double benefits from the same employer or organization.

from your multiple posts your rationale for dbl dipping & possibly fraud is amazing. just wow.

how do u know that msc got paid from both clients. like others have said u should consider yourself very lucky that u didnt already get deactivated. i hope rep from msc sees this thread.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/2017 02:59PM by MSNinja.
@Kenzie wrote:

Yeah, I thought about doing it that way, but it really didn't seem to make any sense and would raise too much suspicion. For example, one department I had to go to for both shops was the deli. The store client wanted to know about the department and interaction, and the competitor was mostly interested in the wait time. Who makes a deli purchase and then 15 minutes later makes another one? Or uses the restroom twice in a row? Or walks up and down the entire store twice? Or asks a question at the bakery and then comes back and asks another question? Sure, maybe I should have done it that way to be on the safe side, but it seemed like an absurd thing to do. Lesson learned, I guess.
deli. raises hand. irl i made deli purchase then bf calls to tell me he wants something from deli. usually deli counters are covered by multiple employees so there is chance u would get totally diff assoc.
restroom. what if u have stomach issue. multiple visits to restroom in short time is real possibility. what assoc is standing there counting people going into restroom. weird thought process.
walking entire store. irl even w/a list ive forgotten stuff before checking out. not a big deal to walk back to same depts. again what assoc is in charge of watching u entire time. loss prevention might look on cameras for shoplifters. if u r not sticking canned goods in your bra or whole roasts under your dress then wouldn't think twice.

edit 0 i just read jas post so my response is similar. i was replying to posts as i read them working my way down. ill read entire thread now before replying again.

"And I have before forgotten something as a real customer and had to go back into the store. Haven't you ever gone shopping and left the store, then realized you forgot something? And who do you think is watching you go into the restroom? Probably nobody. And maybe you have an overactive bladder, who is going to ask? So if they look at you curiously during you revisit to the deli and/or say something, you say, "Oh, my husband/wife texted me and asked me to get some xxx meat. Can I get 1/4 lb. of xxx?"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/2017 02:47PM by MSNinja.
MF has in their reporting system certain warning features. So that when a report is submitted, if a required item is not followed, a warning or invalid alert is signaled for the report. While the OP did get a warning about the overlapping time, that was most likely from the system being in place than from an actual person.

If the OP preform its shop on the weekend, perhaps a Real person/Quality control, has yet to evaluate the report. Only after evaluation from a real person is the report submitted or denied.

While the OP did not see anything against what she did in the guidelines, maybe looking in the FAQ section may have help.

BTW, OP ----------->when did the shop begin and end AND when did the competitors shop begin or end? There must not have been a Shopper's fee for either of these shops. $45 is a lot to be losing on a shop whose reimburse is only $10 and $15. angry smiley angry smiley
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